The Faroese Educational System

The Faroese educational system is a modern one, and in the early nineties was subjected to several changes. Educational institutions are up to date concerning both curriculums at different levels in the educational system and institutions' ability/capability to cooperate with institutions outside the Faroe Islands.

Below is a brief description of the Faroese educational system intended to provide you with an overview over what kind/type of educations and educational institutions we have.

The administration of all schools and educational institutions in the Faroe Islands is carried out by the Faroese Ministry of Education and Culture (Mentamálaráðið). The majority of the education available corresponds to the Danish educational system.
Basic education A basic provision contained in the Faroese education policy is to ensure that every child shall be able to attend a primary school in his/her own village. Faroese is the official school language. Pupils from different villages are from 8th grade brought together to attend district schools.

Primary school ( Fólkaskulin ). Children start school when they are 7 years old and there has been a 9 years compulsory schooling since 1998. Children begin to learn Danish in 3rd grade and English in the 5th grade. From 8th grade, the school curriculum consists of a basic number of compulsory subjects, supplemented by a range of subjects from which the pupils can select their preferred subjects. German is taught from 8th grade but is not compulsory. At the termination of 9th grade, pupils pass an exam permitting entrance to upper secondary education, but they may however stay at primary school for a further year. This year ends with an exam. Many pupils prefer to take this 10th grade.

Upper secondary education
Upper secondary educations There are 6 different types of upper secondary educations. The exams taken at these schools correspond to corresponding exams in Denmark.

General higher Secondary Education (Studentaskúlin - - - This three years education at upper secondary school provides the student with the necessary basic knowledge to access further or higher studies at all higher educational institutions, e.g. universities. There is a choice between a mathematical or linguistic based curriculum. This level of education is available at 3 schools.

Higher Preparatory Course (HF - This is a two years education, especially intended adults wishing to pursue a delayed education. The course comprises general basic subjects and a choice of other subjects, according to individual requirements. The final examination provides admittance to further or higher educational institutions, e.g. universities. The course is available at 3 schools.

Business College ( The education consists of one basic year, after which the student can either continue at the business college for two more years, or leave for training in a shop or an office. The examen at the end of the three years education provides admittance to further or higher educational institutions, e.g. schools of economics and universities. The course is available at 2 schools. At the commercial college, it is also possible to take different further education or sandwich courses that comprise the demands of trade and industry.

Technical College (Tekniski skúlin). The education consists of a basic year, ending with an examination. After this basic year, the student can either apply for an apprenticeship, or if accepted by the college, continue for two more years. The examination at the end of the three years education gives access to further or higher educations, particularly in the technical sphere. The two technical colleges carry also out the theoretical part of the apprenticeship that is of four years duration.

Fishery College (Fiskivinnuskúlin). The education consists of a basic year, ending with an examination. After the basic year, the student is qualified to work in the fishery industry, or can continue for two more years and take an examination equivalent to the other upper secocondary educations.

College of Health Education (Heilsuskúlin). There are two levels of educations at this college. A basic one-year education and a continued education lasting twenty months. Both educations are composed of a theoretical part and a training part. Training takes place at different social or health institutions.

The Marine School (Sjóvinnuskúlin). This education is not strictly speaking, an upper secondary education. While the normal requirements for admittance to upper secondary education is a nine years primary education, this is not essential to the maritime school. The school provides students with a five months education that prepares them for work on board fishing or merchant vessels.

Other schools
Education provided at the following schools is not intended as a basis for further education, but mainly aimed at stimulating/developing the interests of the students.

Folk High School (Fólkaháskulin). Courses normally last for five months and cover a wide range of topics, mainly of a cultural or social nature. The Folk High School organise shorter courses, e.g. of one or two weeks duration, in specialized subjects or fields. There is no examination.

Cooks' School (Kokkaskúlin). The course mainly targets fishing vessels. Courses last five months and are aimed at giving the students a basic insight/knowledge on food and cookery techniques.

Home Economics School (Húsarhaldsskúlin). A course lasts five months, and is aimed at providing students with basic housekeeping skills.

The School of Music (Musikkskúlin - ). The School of Music provides interested persons with the opportunity to learn to play an instrument or sing in a choir.

Evening Schools (Kvøldskúlin). During winter, evening schools provide not only a broad selection of leisure activities, but also courses leading to examinations. There are evening schools in almost every village.
Faroese for foreigners. Foreigners can learn Faroese at the Evening Schools and at the University.

Higher educations
Maritime College (Maskinmeistaraskúlin - and Føroya Sjómansskúli) This College has two lines of education, e.g. Master Mariner (Captain) and Chief Engineer, intended for manning all vessel types and sizes. The educations are composed to comply with the requirements of students requiring qualifications/licenses. A captain's degree takes three years, and the student has also to sail for a predetermined period before he/she is fully certified. The Chief Engineer education is a three years education.

Nursing School (Sjúkrarøktarfrøðiskúli Føroya). The school provides students with a theoretical and practical knowledge on how to nurse a patient, both at hospitals and in other sectors of the social security system. The education lasts four years.

Teachers' Training School (Føroya Læraraskúli). The education at Teachers' Training School takes four years and provides the students with the qualification to teach in the Faroese primary school. The examination also provides access for candidates from the school to teach in primary schools in Denmark.

Kindergarten Teachers' Training School (Føroya Læraraskúli). This education takes three years and provides the students with the necessary theoretical and practical basic knowledge to work in kindergartens and in different social institutions.

University of the Faroe Islands (Fróðskaparsetur Føroya). The University is an educational and research institution. In recent years several externally financed projects have been initiated, e.g. research projects on ocean currents and Ph. D. studentships. The University of the Faroe Islands is one of the smallest universities in the Western world. The University offers education of particular relevance to the Faroese community that cannot be found elsewhere. The University of the Faroe Islands offers university education in three faculties. At the faculty of Faroese Language it is possible to take a BA in Faroese language and literature and a MA in Nordic, with an emphasise on Faroese language and literature. At the faculty of Natural Sciences, it is possible to take BSc in physics/geophysics, BSc in petroleum engineering (petroleum science), BSc in biology, BSc in electrical engineering or BSc in computer science. At the faculty of History and Sociology it is possible to take a BA and MA in history and history of civilization. It is also possible to take a BS Sc in political science.

International Office (Altjóða Skrivstovan). The International Office was established in 2000 and its main objective is to provide external contacts and agreements with higher educational institutions outside the Faroe Islands and to advise students on studies abroad. The International Office is in charge of the mobile programmes of The Nordic Council of Ministers (Nordplus programmes).